Watching the TV and reading some of the blogs it is clear that some in the media think that the tone of the speech was too celebratory and that the applause from the audience was excessive. It shocks me that so many in the media are incapable of understanding that while we needed a memorial for what happened, we did not need a eulogy from the President (talk about needing to “sharpen our instincts for empathy”). We needed a reason for hope, a reason to find joy. The somewhat raucous nature of the applause in the arena last night reflected that. With each long applause we replaced our overwhelming grief with hope.
President Obama combined our grief and need for hope perfectly in his tribute to 9 year old Christina Taylor Green:
Here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that some day she, too, might play a part in shaping her nation’s future. She had been elected to her student council. She saw public service as something exciting and hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted. I want to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it.